Crossdressing Satisfies Need to Fully Express Self 

By: MARY KLEIN Staff Writer 

Leslie, an attractive 33-year-old attorney from  Philadelphia,
is participating in the Fourth Annual Fantasia Fair, a nine day 
event for transvestites, bigenderists and transsexuals.  

Leslie, formerly known as Ralph, is also a transsexual who has
been under  hormone therapy for two years and plans to have an
$8,000 sex-change operation  this week.  

Leslie is only one of the 150 participants in this year's fair,
which began  in Provincetown Oct. 13.  

The fair was founded by Ariadne Kane, a crossdresser and executive
director  of the Outreach Foundation Inc. in Boston. The foundation
is a nonprofit  educational organization that offers confidential,
professional counseling  services for and information about crossdressers.

Crossdressers can be found in every walk of life, and at every
economic and  social level. They are neighbors, friends, and often
husbands and fathers.  They share in common an overwhelming need
to crossdress.  

"Crossdresser" is actually an umbrella label that covers those
people who,  through clothes, attempt to cross the line between
masculinity and femininity.  

First experiences usually occur at preschool age, as a boy plays
with  mother's or sister's clothes. Cures sought in adulthood are
seldom effective.  

Misconceptions about "crossdressers" are legion, Kane says. And
although  most people would assume they do not know any crossdressers,
there is a good  chance they do.  

Although there are women crossdressers, all participants in the
fair in  Provincetown have been men.  

During the past four years, fair participants have included accountants,
bankers, physicians, psychologists, educational consultants,
motel owners, a  former Navy submarine commander, a former minister,
an executive of a multi-  million dollar corporation, a professional
football player, a hockey player,  grocery story owners, construction
workers, lawyers, automobile salesmen and  a commercial airline

Crossdressers differentiate between "gender" and ''sex". Sex
is the  biological classification - male or female but gender,
they believe, is  defined by culture. It includes the different
behaviors, mannerisms and  social roles taught to boys and to girls
and reinforced by society.  


A transvestite is a crossdresser who considers himself fully
male and  masculine. He does not want to be a woman, but derives
pleasure from wearing  feminine clothes. Usually he is heterosexual.

Transsexuals, like Leslie, want to be a female. Women's clothes
are only  one facet of a transsexual's experience. They say they
feel like women and  strive to learn feminine traits, including
gestures, attitudes, and postures.  

"I feel a sense of relief and rightness about presenting myself
as a  woman," Leslie says. "I don't feel frustrated as a male,
but it's an effort  to act like a man. I would prefer to drop the
pretense and be myself. My  male identity is a false front."  

Psychologically, Leslie has been preparing for a sex-change operation
for  the past four years. "By the time you have the actual operation,
it's just  the icing on the cake." Ideally, a transsexual will
live a year as a woman  before undergoing the surgery.  

Leslie was recently divorced. She regards her marriage as "a
last  desperate attempt to live out my original gender role. People
think marriage  will be a magic cure."  

"My wife knows and accepts everything," Leslie continues. "She
is a  remarkable person with a career of her own. I love her as
a person, but  obviously our sexual relationship cannot be typical.
I'm trying to establish  some kind of normal life for myself,
and I wouldn't deny her the same."  

In her future as a woman, Leslie does not foresee an ordinary
marriage,  primarily because she intends to pursue her career as
an attorney under the  name of Leslie Philips. She does hope for
some kind of close relationship  with a man.  

A third category of crossdresser is the "bigenderist," persons
who say they  have established separate selves, one masculine and
one feminine. Often, a  bigenderist has two separate names, and
sometimes two distinct personalities.  Bigenderists consider themselves
men with two genders, not women trapped in a  male body.  

Elanda, a bigenderist, relaxes in the lounge of the Crown and
Anchor Motor  Inn the convention site. She wears a well-tailored
black skirt, a scarf,  muted tone shirt and fashionable high black
leather boots.  

In the "straight" world, Elanda, 53, is an engineer. In her native
Germany  she fought as a pilot and paratrooper during World War

"We're not sissies. In the male world, we are fully male," Elanda
says in  her soft German accent. "We're not homosexuals. Some are,
but I love women."  

Elanda says she is comfortable in her male role, but also needs
her female  role. Like the majority of crossdressers, Elanda has
sought psychiatric help  and has gone through tremendous guilt
periods, which culminated in destroying  all of her feminine clothes.
But like most other crossdressers, she  discovered that (the)
psychological urge to dress in women's clothes is  overpowering.

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